Introduction to the Sustainability Leadership Programme

This is the start of the Sustainability Leadership Programme. In this first session, we explain some key points to better understand the relevance of this programme for DMOs and the tourism industry.

Why a Sustainability Leadership Programme?

In 2018 and 2019, Sustainability became a prominent part of our work with DMOs, with members and other destinations asking for support in developing a Sustainability Strategy.

In 2019, we developed a framework to better understand and benchmark how DMOs were embracing Sustainability. As you can see in the image above, the Sustainability Framework includes three main areas, categorising DMOs according to their level of commitment in Sustainability: Saying, Doing and Succeeding.

Why a Sustainability Leadership Programme?

In 2018 and 2019, Sustainability became a prominent part of our work with DMOs, with members and other destinations asking for support in developing a Sustainability Strategy.

In 2019, we developed a framework to better understand and benchmark how DMOs were embracing Sustainability. As you can see in the image above, the Sustainability Framework includes three main areas, categorising DMOs according to their level of commitment in Sustainability: Saying, Doing and Succeeding.

Saying

We've seen the success of initiatives such as the Palau Pledge, telling the story of the children of Palau wanting every visitor to promise to respect their place or the Iceland Academy, an online course led by Icelandic people teaching the most essential things to know before visiting Iceland.

So this is was 'Saying' is about:

  • Making a Pledge Involve visitors and the industry in promising to respect the destination.
  • Creating a Manifesto Align the destination around the same vision
  • Telling a Story Make sure storytelling is an innate part to bring others with you
  • Communicating Sustainable Practices Spread a message consistent with your values
  • Educating Visitors Teach people to respect the destination

Doing

The Paviljon EXPANO, the Slovenian pavilion constructed in Milan for the EXPO 2015, has been constructed with the purpose of being rebuilt in the Slovenian destination of Murska Sobota and repurposed to become a unique attraction for visitors and locals. The Pejo3000 ski area in Val di Sole, Trentino was the first plastic-free ski area in the world.

Doing is therefore about small, bold actions:

  • Many Small Actions Committing to achievable goals for the common good of the destination
  • Few Big Commitments Finding the right balance between radical change and long-term evolution
  • Embracing Innovation Fostering a change in the mindset and reviewing norms
  • Implementing Technology Solutions Finding the right technology to support evolution
  • Setting short to medium-term Goals Looking at what is achievable and where we want to go

Succeeding

In the framework, we designed a space for all those destinations that were not exclusively telling stories and creating content or focusing on one goal at a time. When we created the framework, we have dedicated the 'Succeeding' area to those DMOs that were really making a difference in driving the industry for a change. Helsinki is a great example of how to establish a process the leads to a more sustainable future: the Think Sustainably initiative represents a best practice on how to set guidelines for the local industry, encouraging a collective effort for the good of the destination. We can't wait to show you more examples of destinations that are setting the sustainability bar high by:

  • Doing it collectively Making Sustainability a priority for everybody
  • Measuring every step of the journey Set up a model and measure every action

Leadership & Culture

We understood that the real difference shown by the framework that was setting the "Successes" apart from the rest was the incredible level of Leadership that has been set and the establishing of a new culture and renovated mindset for the organisation and the rest of the industry.

In 2022 - whether it is to foster recovery after the pandemic crisis, support the industry innovative and digital development or roll up your sleeves and save the planet - if we want to make a real change, we need to look at leadership and culture in a new light.

  • Leadership & Culture Strategy The health, economic and social crises have increased people’s expectations about the role of the industry in acting upon global problems.
  • Leadership Development Changing behaviour and developing the capabilities of managers, leaders and teams to become more purposeful, connected, responsible and agile.
  • Culture Activation Using data and insights to experiment and drive behaviour changes, growth and build human-centric organisations, which are adaptive and inclusive.

In this programme, we will work on framing those skills that allow you to become real advocates for change and sustainability experts within your team, organisation and industry. But, what does it mean to be a Leader?

Funnily enough, being a leader means more or less ticking all these boxes to be prepared and lead real transformation.

  • Mission & Purpose: Aligning values and promoting common goals by inspiring a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the organisation and its stakeholders.
  • Commitment & Creativity: Unlocking commitment and creativity by being truly human, showing compassion, humility and openness.
  • Knowledge & Skills: Finding growing paths to success by embracing continuous personal advancement and knowledge exchange.
  • Technology & Innovation: Creating new organisational and societal value by innovating responsibly with emerging technology.
  • Inclusion & Empathy: Fostering accessibility and positive impact for all by standing in the shoes of "users" when making decisions and fostering an inclusive environment where diverse individuals have a voice.

Leaders see people’s potential and help them grow; they stand by clear values that allow the creation of an inclusive and diverse environment. Leaders have the ability to look at challenges as opportunities to spark ideation and drive innovation. We will look into leadership and sustainability are interwoven with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policies, Gender Equality, Representation and Inclusion.

Sustainable Co-Design: Looking at Challenges Differently

We will be looking at Sustainable Development and its impact on the overall destination. That is why it is important to talk about “Users” as a generic term that refers to stakeholders, individuals, groups, communities, but also institutions, organisations and policymakers: whoever is affected by the challenges we are facing now and will benefit from what is implemented is a User (which as nothing to do with the guy sitting at his laptop and liking your comments on Facebook).

When looking at the future, in order to be as accurate as possible, we have to address our assumptions by learning, observing and practising design research.

Every time we meet up for a discussion or every time we set up a new activity to do in your team, we will be applying Design Thinking Methods. Although, we love Human-Centred Design, for this Programme, we don’t want to stop at the “human” needs. Sustainability requires us to look beyond our needs and consider biodiversity and environmental needs as much as we do with human needs.

Design Thinking focuses on the Experience of people and aims to improve it. By going through the 5 key phases of Co-Design, we will be trying to understand what sustainability means for each destination and what are the best solutions that can be implemented:

  • Empathising
  • Defining
  • Ideating
  • Prototyping
  • Developing

The prototyping phase is essential to verify the effectiveness of ideas, before launching the final version and we will be focusing on it during the last and final stage of the programme. At the end of these 5 modules, we would love you to pitch back to your team what you've learnt and maybe see how the prototype you have in mind can be implemented.

We will be talking about failure and challenges as something that doesn't work simply because it's not particularly interesting, striving to be more innovative, because we are champions of Restless Reinvention, active and continuous testing and learning process in order to implement the solution to a problem through iteration.

The results of practices like design research, observing users, brainstorming and ideating are amplified when you do them as a Diverse Empowered Team.

Diverse teams have varied perspectives, skills and backgrounds. They build upon each other’s ideas, enrich each other’s knowledge and challenge each other’s assumptions in ways that accelerate the work. Empowered teams have the agency to make everyday operational decisions on their own. They’re equipped with the expertise and authority to deliver outcomes, the leadership we were talking about.

Getting to know you and your destination

As key members of this Diverse and Empowered Team, we need to know you better so we have prepared a Mural that you can complete. You can double-click and type on a sticky note to add your comments and answer a few simple questions.

Why a Sustainability Leadership Programme?

In 2018 and 2019, Sustainability became a prominent part of our work with DMOs, with members and other destinations asking for support in developing a Sustainability Strategy.

In 2019, we developed a framework to better understand and benchmark how DMOs were embracing Sustainability. As you can see in the image above, the Sustainability Framework includes three main areas, categorising DMOs according to their level of commitment in Sustainability: Saying, Doing and Succeeding.

Why a Sustainability Leadership Programme?

In 2018 and 2019, Sustainability became a prominent part of our work with DMOs, with members and other destinations asking for support in developing a Sustainability Strategy.

In 2019, we developed a framework to better understand and benchmark how DMOs were embracing Sustainability. As you can see in the image above, the Sustainability Framework includes three main areas, categorising DMOs according to their level of commitment in Sustainability: Saying, Doing and Succeeding.

Saying

We've seen the success of initiatives such as the Palau Pledge, telling the story of the children of Palau wanting every visitor to promise to respect their place or the Iceland Academy, an online course led by Icelandic people teaching the most essential things to know before visiting Iceland.

So this is was 'Saying' is about:

  • Making a Pledge Involve visitors and the industry in promising to respect the destination.
  • Creating a Manifesto Align the destination around the same vision
  • Telling a Story Make sure storytelling is an innate part to bring others with you
  • Communicating Sustainable Practices Spread a message consistent with your values
  • Educating Visitors Teach people to respect the destination

Doing

The Paviljon EXPANO, the Slovenian pavilion constructed in Milan for the EXPO 2015, has been constructed with the purpose of being rebuilt in the Slovenian destination of Murska Sobota and repurposed to become a unique attraction for visitors and locals. The Pejo3000 ski area in Val di Sole, Trentino was the first plastic-free ski area in the world.

Doing is therefore about small, bold actions:

  • Many Small Actions Committing to achievable goals for the common good of the destination
  • Few Big Commitments Finding the right balance between radical change and long-term evolution
  • Embracing Innovation Fostering a change in the mindset and reviewing norms
  • Implementing Technology Solutions Finding the right technology to support evolution
  • Setting short to medium-term Goals Looking at what is achievable and where we want to go

Succeeding

In the framework, we designed a space for all those destinations that were not exclusively telling stories and creating content or focusing on one goal at a time. When we created the framework, we have dedicated the 'Succeeding' area to those DMOs that were really making a difference in driving the industry for a change. Helsinki is a great example of how to establish a process the leads to a more sustainable future: the Think Sustainably initiative represents a best practice on how to set guidelines for the local industry, encouraging a collective effort for the good of the destination. We can't wait to show you more examples of destinations that are setting the sustainability bar high by:

  • Doing it collectively Making Sustainability a priority for everybody
  • Measuring every step of the journey Set up a model and measure every action

Leadership & Culture

We understood that the real difference shown by the framework that was setting the "Successes" apart from the rest was the incredible level of Leadership that has been set and the establishing of a new culture and renovated mindset for the organisation and the rest of the industry.

In 2022 - whether it is to foster recovery after the pandemic crisis, support the industry innovative and digital development or roll up your sleeves and save the planet - if we want to make a real change, we need to look at leadership and culture in a new light.

  • Leadership & Culture Strategy The health, economic and social crises have increased people’s expectations about the role of the industry in acting upon global problems.
  • Leadership Development Changing behaviour and developing the capabilities of managers, leaders and teams to become more purposeful, connected, responsible and agile.
  • Culture Activation Using data and insights to experiment and drive behaviour changes, growth and build human-centric organisations, which are adaptive and inclusive.

In this programme, we will work on framing those skills that allow you to become real advocates for change and sustainability experts within your team, organisation and industry. But, what does it mean to be a Leader?

Funnily enough, being a leader means more or less ticking all these boxes to be prepared and lead real transformation.

  • Mission & Purpose: Aligning values and promoting common goals by inspiring a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the organisation and its stakeholders.
  • Commitment & Creativity: Unlocking commitment and creativity by being truly human, showing compassion, humility and openness.
  • Knowledge & Skills: Finding growing paths to success by embracing continuous personal advancement and knowledge exchange.
  • Technology & Innovation: Creating new organisational and societal value by innovating responsibly with emerging technology.
  • Inclusion & Empathy: Fostering accessibility and positive impact for all by standing in the shoes of "users" when making decisions and fostering an inclusive environment where diverse individuals have a voice.

Leaders see people’s potential and help them grow; they stand by clear values that allow the creation of an inclusive and diverse environment. Leaders have the ability to look at challenges as opportunities to spark ideation and drive innovation. We will look into leadership and sustainability are interwoven with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policies, Gender Equality, Representation and Inclusion.

Sustainable Co-Design: Looking at Challenges Differently

We will be looking at Sustainable Development and its impact on the overall destination. That is why it is important to talk about “Users” as a generic term that refers to stakeholders, individuals, groups, communities, but also institutions, organisations and policymakers: whoever is affected by the challenges we are facing now and will benefit from what is implemented is a User (which as nothing to do with the guy sitting at his laptop and liking your comments on Facebook).

When looking at the future, in order to be as accurate as possible, we have to address our assumptions by learning, observing and practising design research.

Every time we meet up for a discussion or every time we set up a new activity to do in your team, we will be applying Design Thinking Methods. Although, we love Human-Centred Design, for this Programme, we don’t want to stop at the “human” needs. Sustainability requires us to look beyond our needs and consider biodiversity and environmental needs as much as we do with human needs.

Design Thinking focuses on the Experience of people and aims to improve it. By going through the 5 key phases of Co-Design, we will be trying to understand what sustainability means for each destination and what are the best solutions that can be implemented:

  • Empathising
  • Defining
  • Ideating
  • Prototyping
  • Developing

The prototyping phase is essential to verify the effectiveness of ideas, before launching the final version and we will be focusing on it during the last and final stage of the programme. At the end of these 5 modules, we would love you to pitch back to your team what you've learnt and maybe see how the prototype you have in mind can be implemented.

We will be talking about failure and challenges as something that doesn't work simply because it's not particularly interesting, striving to be more innovative, because we are champions of Restless Reinvention, active and continuous testing and learning process in order to implement the solution to a problem through iteration.

The results of practices like design research, observing users, brainstorming and ideating are amplified when you do them as a Diverse Empowered Team.

Diverse teams have varied perspectives, skills and backgrounds. They build upon each other’s ideas, enrich each other’s knowledge and challenge each other’s assumptions in ways that accelerate the work. Empowered teams have the agency to make everyday operational decisions on their own. They’re equipped with the expertise and authority to deliver outcomes, the leadership we were talking about.

Getting to know you and your destination

As key members of this Diverse and Empowered Team, we need to know you better so we have prepared a Mural that you can complete. You can double-click and type on a sticky note to add your comments and answer a few simple questions.